Given we were on vacation for 2 weeks recently, and I was gone on travel for work last week, it’s been a while since I’ve been out birding locally. With a great forecast temps, light winds, and partial cloud cover, it was shaping up to be a perfect day for bird photography! I left at dawn this morning with the intention of finding migrating shorebirds and other goodies.
I didn’t want to commit to a long drive up to Lake Thompson where I was pretty much guaranteed of finding shorebird habitat somewhere. Given how wet our summer has been and the rain we had when I was gone last week, I thought there would likely be some standing water around locally…perfect habitat for migrating shorebirds. I was wrong! There were a few areas of standing water, but with crops at almost full height and other vegetation quite lush from the wet summer, most of those wet spots were hidden or surrounded by vegetation. Several did have a few shorebirds, but I never did get any photo opportunities.
The one great photo opportunity for today was a true rarity for me…something without feathers. Something without fur (a target of opportunity I always shoot when out birding). I was driving in western Minnehaha County about half an hour after sunrise, and saw an old…combine (?) in a partially cut wheat field. I say “combine” because it was so old, so simple a piece of farm equipment, that I don’t know what else you’d call it. Curiously, it was sitting on the fence row right by the road, in a small area of cut wheat in a much bigger wheat field, and with a brightly painted “John Deere” sign facing the road. I couldn’t have designed a better photo opportunity, and with the warm morning light, I spent a good 30 minutes getting various styles of photos of the scene.
With such a perfect scene, I do wonder if it WAS some kind of display that someone had set up, but regardless of why it was there, I thank the owner for providing the photo opportunity! It turned out to be a great photo day, despite few opportunities to actually shoot birds.
An old but brightly colored piece of farm equipment, sitting in a partially harvested wheat field. Too perfect a photo opportunity to have occurred without someone actually designing the scene!
It’s been about 5 months since my son and I started rockhounding, and polishing some of our finds in a tumbler. It’s rather shocking how much material you can find on the South Dakota grasslands in just 5 months! I’ve got several large trays and buckets worth of agates, jaspers, petrified wood, fossils, and other goodies. Now the number one question I get from our other household member…”What are you going to do with all of those”?
It’s a DAMNED good question! I’ve already taken over our utility room (the room downstairs with the furnace and water heater). A big wire shelving system is chock full of rocks and supplies, and two tumblers have been going non-stop for the last 4 months. It’s such a long process to polish, that we don’t have a massive number of “final” pieces, but it’s a growing amount. Nearly all right now are either sitting on a shelf at work, or are sitting unseen in a tray in the utility room. Lately I’ve been looking at ways to display them.
I came across some images on Pinterest for displaying collections, including a guy who used “printer’s trays” to display his cork collections. I had never heard of a printer’s tray. They are large wooden trays with many small compartments, used by letterpress printers to hold the tools of their trade. Not knowing where the heck you could possible get such a thing, I looked on eBay and was surprised to see many available. One person was selling several quite cheap (only $22 each!), so bought a pair and thought I’d see what I can do with them.
They look wonderful! They’re old and have an antique look to them, but are in really excellent shape. I’m not quite sure how I’ll use them yet, in terms of whether I try to do some kind of refinishing on them, or leave them more as is. Stay tuned…within the next few weeks I hope to get a nice display set upon the walls of my home office!
The two printer’s trays I bought on eBay. Not what they are designed for, but they are truly wonderful for displays of small knick-knacks! For me, that means agates and other geologic goodies. They even came with the original grass drawer pulls! Once I decide whether I want to do something to the finish, I plan on hanging them vertically (kind of similar to this) in my home office.